Interviewed by Denys (Site Founder/Senior Staff Writer) Myglobalmind Webzine
Myglobalmind: Hi Steve and thanks for sparing a few minutes out of your time to answer some questions about Lillian Axe and you’re new record!!!
Myglobalmind: Before we get started on you’re new album “Days Before Tomorrow’ which comes out February 14th, let’s talk a little about your past and enlighten fans and readers of the webzine a little bit more about your musical career. Self taught guitar player and is this true that you started originally trained as a classical and flamenco guitar player? Tell me about that?
Steve: I started playing guitar at 6 years of age when my parents gave me a guitar for my birthday. I enrolled in lessons at school, but in a matter of months the instructor informed my parents that I had outgrown the task and was blessed with natural talent in this area. I started classical and flamenco private lessons under Edie Leibe who I have not heard from since I was a teenager. She was a wonderful instructor. I blame Alice Cooper for my interest in being a rock musician. The rest is history.
Myglobalmind: What kinds of bands we’re into back in the day when you decided to start Lillian Axe at a very young age? When did you know and that you wanted to start a rock band?
Steve: When I saw Alice Cooper on tv around the age of 10 or 11, I knew thats what I wanted to do. I was into Alice, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Elton John, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Styx, Scorpions, Priest, Queen, etc.
Myglobalmind: I always try to get a perspective from the veteran rockers and try to compare and contrast the “Rock” scene back then and now, a totally different cup of tea. I have said before about you and your band as well as other rock bands out there that had a marginal amount of success and following in the 80’s and early 90’s, that I give them a lot of credit for still being around and trying to stay relevant. What’s your take about the music industry now and then?
Steve: Sadly enough, I feel the scene has no mystique or soul the way it did in the 70′ and 80’s. Maybe it’s because I was so young and excited about music as a kid. I think things took a turn in the early -mid 90’s and spiraling downward since. The internet has desensitized people on one hand, yet allowed people to access music more easily. Almost too easily. Fans have become numb by overexposure. I feel that music has become a product like a can of dog food, and easily dismissed if the packaging is wrong. I only hope that the population realizes how important music is and supports their artists by going to shows, buying cd’s, and getting involved. We are relevant now because we care so much about our craft. We grow with our fans and strive to continue to create new and exciting music in the vein of what we are about.
Myglobalmind: Anybody can play a good guitar riff, but I always felt that you’re songwriting style and ability although often probably described as dark, (I don’t think is dark but just rather more challenging and intricate) covering topics in a way that makes the listener pay more attention to the music; was a big strong point for Lillian Axe over the years. How do you get all your ideas on paper and then apply them to a record. Take me through your thought process?
Steve: My process has no process. An idea may originate as a thought or a riff or a phrase. I usually write a lot of the piece in my head. I sometimes hum into my digital recorder. I then demo the song at home in my studio as completely as possible before I present it to the band. Lyrics flow as the music dictates. I may have the idea for the song’s meaning but the words come as I listen to the music and let it channel through me. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes like The Day I Met You and sometimes it takes weeks. It is very torturous however. I cant sleep until its finished.
Myglobalmind: Obviously the records “Psychoschizophrenia” and “Love + War” get a great deal of coverage and understandably so since those albums made the band a household name, what’s change in Lillian Axe if any to now this point in time, a natural progression per say from those two albums to your new album “Days Before Tomorrow”?
Steve: Simple evolution. We grow as people and musicians daily. Sonically, we are experiencing more in life so we express that in the way we perform and record. It is a very natural progression for us to become more dynamic and powerful because life has become that for us as well. This band is on a path of growth on all levels, and I vow to continue following the road my heart leads me on.
Myglobalmind: Let’s talk about the new album, I thought it was a more complete effort from the band and the writing as usual is solid, all the tasty guitar licks are there and I am digging this new updated modern rock sound in between the lines that you guys introduced a few albums ago, without totally leaving behind the origins of Axe’s past. What has the early feedback been on the new album Steve?
Steve: Early feedback has been wonderful, many calling it the best Lillian record yet. I am so pleased that people have accepted Brian so well. We are blessed to have him and he is a major part in the sound of this record. We didnt do anything to try to sound “modern” or any particular way. Thats just who we are and how we sound. There will always be a few people who refuse to accept anything except the past, but I feel sorry that they are missing out on growing with us. Many people attach themselves in a nostalgic manner to music and refuse to let anything new come into play. I say that it’s fine to do that. Those albums will always be there, but how about music for today!
Mygloblamind: Needless to say like many bands, Lillian Axe has had barrage of lineup changes, and of recently of course previous singer Derrick LeFevre left the band before you guys we’re suppose to go on tour for your last release, enter Ronny Munroe formerly of Metal Church and he decides is not his thing because of commitments to his other bands. What do you do then? And what qualities did you look for in your search for your new lead singer?
Steve: Most marriages dont last half as long as we have been around. People change. Things change. Every rock band in existence has changed members. Not a big deal. Ronnie was only a test for one show. He is a great talent and a good friend, but in all fairness to him, wasn’t the right situation for logistical and stylistic reasons. We both knew that. We looked for a great talent as well as a great human being with dedication,a good soul, and a considerate individual, dedicated to this band.
Myglobalmind: Tell me about the addition of new vocalist Brian Jones? How did you find him and how you think he fits the style of the band at this point in time? I read on the press release he’s from Jackson, MS?
Steve: Brian was a fan from the time he was 15 years old. He came to many shows, and I became friends with him. We would talk every few months. He called me when he found out that Derrick had left the band. He sent me material and I immediately thought this would work. However, I owed it to the band to research lots of other candidates as well. We spent months before we told Brian, and here we are.He has a very emotional and powerful voice, perfect for Lillian Axe. Sometimes at rehearsal, he is so powerful he consumes the band. It’s amazing. I have never heard such power before.
Myglobalmind: You have said this is the best record you have written for Axe, tell me why you feel that way?
Steve: This is the best record so far in my opinion because the pieces fell together perfectly. I cant stop listening to it. It has all the elements of what makes Lillian Axe unique with the dynamic and depth that we strove for. I feel that it was the best record we could possibly create, due to the efforts of many people.
Myglobalmind: Tell me about the writing and the meaning behind some of the songs, I was really digging “Bow Your Head”, “Lava on my Tongue” and “The Great Divide” which also feature some ferocious guitar licks. Do you have any personal favorites?
Steve: “My Apologies” is my favorite because it was written for my son Jude who speaks on the hidden tracks. It’s a message from a father to child with pure honesty. The chorus is a beautiful heavy lullaby, soothing in its dynamic and strength.
Mygloblamind: What do you want fans of the band to take away from your new album?
Steve: I want fans to listen from top to bottom LOUDLY! I want them to feel deep emotions from strength to happiness to power to melancholy to awe. I want the hair to stand up on their arms. I want them to feel that the emotions and honesty on this record are universal and strong.
Myglobalmind: I always drop a few fun questions before we wrap things up, here’s one I’m sure you have been asked before, what’s the craziest thing you have ever seen on tour?
Steve: Two bikers in Detroit asked me to autograph their forearms in large letters. The next day they sent pictures of their brand new tattoos! Yes, they tattooed my autograph on their arms. These were big, leather wearing bikers! How cool was that?
Mygloblamind: Have you ever been star trucked when touring or meeting someone famous?
Steve: When Brian May from Queen got on one knee in front of me and watched me play and gave me wonderful compliments, my knee started shaking so badly that I had to apologize for my nervousness!
Mygloblamind: What type of guitar do you use live? The Redeemer? And what do you use in the studio?
Steve: I have my own line of guitars through Guilford Guitars! There are 2 models: The Blaze and The Redeemer! Go to www.guilfordguitars.com. to check them out. In the studio I use Peavey amps and cabs as well.
Myglobalmind: Final words are yours man. Thanks again Steve and good luck on the new album, I’m sure we will be in touch again soon. Rock on!!!!
Steve: It was my pleasure! Thanks for the support! Take care.
Webzine Review for Lillian Axe – IV Days Before Tomorrow